We all know how hard it is for small developers in the industry today. Making games means that you need vast amount of funds, resources, and need to put in a lot of hard work.
Thankfully, the funds part could be taken care of by putting your game up on Kickstarter. Fans fund projects that show potential, innovation, and are unique is one way or the other. Kickstarter is a god-sent for small devs as the level of risk low and benefits are huge.
Once your game is on Kickstarter you’re not bound to that one source, you can find other channels and pool your funds together for game development.
However, those who don’t use this platform even though it exists to help them out, run the risk of failing and seeing major financial issues during development.
How useful Kickstarter is can be judged by a post from Brigador developer who was seen justifying the price point of the game, and explaining how hard it was developing the game with their own money.
We have spent 5 years making Brigador, if you include when we started building the engine.
Much of that has been working full time, 6-7 days a week, 8+ hours a day. Even at a very conservative estimate that’s over 10,000 hours of work per person, and there are 4 of us. We did not do a kickstarter, we do not have a publisher. We have funded this entire project out of pocket.
Here is a list of things that also take about 5 years to do:
- get a PhD
- get married and have two children
- earn $72,000 at the US minimum wage (pre-tax)
- win the election and serve a term as President of the United States
- fight World War I
- develop from an embryo into a person who can speak in complete sentences
- fail to qualify for the Olympics, twice
- start drinking too much and gain 20lbs because of stress from starting a company and building a game for 5 years
- watch all 262 episodes of Two and a Half Men (we do not endorse doing this)
Brigador was made almost entirely from scratch, and when it ships will contain 2 hours of original music (small sample), over 100 different enemy units (spoilers), a story campaign, a free play mode, and a playable landmass of ~2 mi² (split between 20 maps) — roughly the size of downtown Chicago or the urban area in GTA III — hand detailed all the way down to street lamps, trash cans, stop signs, etc. I took some time to render out two of the maps in their entirety at game resolution so that you can look around for yourselves:
(heads up, each image is ~10 mbs)
St. Martim’s Commercial Spaceport
The Sintra Necropolis (had to be slightly downscaled to fit on imgur)
For this we kindly ask that you pay $20.
As a reference point, here is a list of things that cost more than $20:
- a toilet plunger
- a 30-pack of Bud Light
- a trash can
- this single article of Calvin Klein men’s underwear
- a fruitcake no one will ever eat
- the Point Break remake Blu-ray
- a calendar
- this Nickelback poster
It’s bad enough there’s a Nickelback poster worth more than the game we’ve spent the last 5 years building, worse still to have people come along and announce that in fact our game is only worth about as much as this other more common Nickelback poster. I hope you can understand the frustration this inspires.
$20 a copy, once you factor in Valve’s take and taxes, gets cut down to about $10 a copy (we live in Illinois which has the highest state income tax rate in the US at 5%). Pretending we don’t have to pay contractors or have any other development related expenses, to pay ourselves minimum wage for the time we’ve put in requires selling 25,000 copies of Brigador. Factoring in contractors and any kind of reasonable living and that number jumps up to ~50,000 copies.
While not unheard of, that’s already getting into long-shot territory, especially for a new company that has no pre-existing ties to games media or the backing of a publisher.
And people’s reticence to pay what amounts to a pint of beer more for the game means adding another 33% or 16,000 copies to see the same results. That increase alone amounts to more units than many independent releases ever sell.
We’re not asking for pity or charity, nor are we saying you should buy a game just because people worked hard on it– it’s possible to struggle valiantly and still make poo. But quality, depth, innovation all require time, and projects of this scope demand full-time work.
If Brigador is not worth $20 to you, that’s fine, by all means wait until it goes on sale.
But understand that you’re making an already extremely difficult job that much harder.
Brigador took so long to make because we wanted to take a risk on building something unique rather than just reskinning an existing game.
We wrote an engine from scratch so that we could create fully destructible environments and still have good control over performance.
Iterating on design, creating something even only partially new takes a tremendous amount of time, and if people are unwilling to pay a price commensurate with the labor involved in creating games like this then fewer people will take those risks, and many of the ones who do will get starved out the industry.
At the end of the day we all have to eat. So yeah, we think it’s worth $20. Hope that clears things
The price makes sense but they should have considered using Kickstarter or other similar platforms. This is an example for other devs who aren’t considering crowdfunding.